Caffeine Wars: The Coffee Chain vs. The Coffee Brand

Published by Engagement Labs on September 29, 2015

Coffee makes the world go round. Just ask any office in any part of the world and you’ll see how much the caffeinated drink has helped worker productivity. Having ranked the top coffee chains and brands recently based on their eValue scores, we decided to take a look at the reigning social media leaders to see how they’re best leveraging their social platforms.

Taking first place on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for coffee chains, the mighty industry leader Starbucks Coffee easily swept the competition. Whereas for top coffee brands, we saw the lesser-known but highly social Death Wish Coffee Company take the lead spot on both Facebook and Instagram.

With one winner being such a well-known brand seen on almost every street corner and another winner being an up-and-coming brand, we dove deeper into their social media strategies to see what the big coffee chain was doing compared to the unique coffee brand.

The Mighty Corporation: Starbucks Coffee

1. Reviving the #PSL

It’s safe to say, Starbucks has gained a reputation for its autumn-inspired Pumpkin Spiced Latte over the last few years. With the fall season upon us, the company has made the most of its association with the season and has begun to revive its annual drink – going as far as creating a Twitter handle for the drink. 

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, Starbucks’ most popular posts have been related to their classic drink, even warranting its own hashtag – #PSL. Starbucks understands what their customers want and targets their content appropriately to keep their audience engaged and invested.

2. Serving Up New Trends

While they may be known for their Pumpkin Spiced Latte, Starbucks isn’t afraid to venture off the beaten path and introduce some new drinks to the mix. Making the most of a diverse audience, Starbucks has introduced new drinks and treats through their content.

For instance, on Twitter and Instagram two of the top posts during the time period measured were related to the Iced Salted Caramel Mocha for the fall season. We see that the chain is not afraid to introduce something different to their very large following and, as a result, fans are responding positively.

3. Personalizing Your Coffee

Tapping into the emotional side of their followers, Starbucks has launched their #ToBeInCollege campaign that showcases personal stories of Starbucks employees who are balancing both working at the chain and going to school, through the help of the company.

Tugging at heartstrings, this type of content forms an emotional connection with audiences and helps in changing the perception of the brand from just another corporation to one that is working towards a greater good in society.

The Underdog: Death Wish Coffee Company

1. A Dash of Humor

Deemed the creators of the world’s strongest coffee, Death Wish Coffee Company takes its coffee very seriously. Their passion for the energy-inducing beverage shines through their humorous and witty content on both Facebook and Instagram.

Posting hilarious coffee-relevant memes and pop-culture references, Death Wish Coffee Company not only attracts the right followers, but keeps them coming back to their social media channels for more.

The brand isn’t afraid to have fun with their social media posts and openly embraces their strong love for coffee, something their loyal followers really appreciate.

2. Behind-the-Counter

Another way Death Wish Coffee Company is connecting with their followers is through their behind-the-scenes content from their offices. Keeping fans in the loop of what’s happening behind the coffee production, the brand posts content showcasing individual employees either at work or having fun at their office.

Putting a face to the company humanizes the brand and builds trust amongst fans. The transparent content makes fans feel the brand isn’t trying to hide anything which encourages them to continue to engage and interact with their social media channels.

3. Support from Customers

Participating in Intuit’s small business competition, Death Wish Coffee Company turned to their loyal user base to move their brand forward in the competition. Posting contest-related content, links to where you can vote and images of people showing off their “I Voted” stickers, the brand generated support and engagement from fans.

The support during the contest translated to more engagement with the brand’s content, and ultimately higher eValue scores for the brand.

The Final Cup

While both brands emerged as winners in their respective fields, it’s clear both brands took very different approaches when leveraging their social media channels. However, the one thing they both had in common was that they understood their fan bases. Focusing on their audiences and targeting their content is what resulted in both brands’ successes.

Now excuse us, while we whip up our third cup of joe for the day…

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About eValue™:

The eValue™ score measures the effectiveness of a brand’s overall social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and provides a score from 0 – 100. It’s the aggregate of the three subscores including Engagement, Impact, and Responsiveness that work together to create one top-level KPI. Our subscores are calculated by using hundreds of submetrics which are then benchmarked against a hand-picked database of 100,000 verified brand accounts on each channel.

Engagement: Measures the level of interaction generated by your content and how well your community reacts to it.

Impact: Measures how many unique users have potentially been exposed to a piece of content posted by the channel’s admin through organic, viral and paid reach.

Responsiveness: Measures the rate, speed and quality of your responses to fans.